In June 2020 eyebrows were raised in the boxing world when the WBC heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, tweeted a “massive thanks” to Daniel Kinahan for his role in setting up a deal for a multi-million pound unification fight against Anthony Joshua.
by Chris Summers 7 November 2021
Kinahan is a Dubai-based ‘businessman’ who has no criminal record but reportedly inherited a ruthless drugs cartel from his father Christy and has been involved in an underworld feud since 2015 with Gerry “The Monk” Hutch which has claimed 20 lives.
In the last year Fury has beaten Deontay Wilder in the final fight of their violent trilogy to retain the title but Joshua has lost his WBA, IBF and WBO crowns to Oleksandr Usyk.
But outside of the ring Kinahan appears to have come out the winner in his feud with Hutch.
In her new book, Clash Of The Clans, Irish crime reporter Nicola Tallant lifts the lid on the extraordinary power struggle that took place between the Kinahan cartel and Hutch’s associates and how it was tied up with both boxing and drugs.
Boxing has had a long association with organised crime – 1960s heavyweight champ Sonny Liston was controlled by Philadelphia mob boss “Blinky” Palermo and New York mob boss John Gotti’s enforcer Sammy “The Bull” Gravano admitted in 1993 the Gambino family had tried to muscle in on the heavyweight scene a couple of years earlier.
Gravano said: “Lots of people think organised crime makes its money from fixing fights and betting on the winner. That doesn’t happen any more. The purses are so big it doesn’t make sense to fix a fight in order to collect a bet. But we would consider fixing a fight for a bit of a pay-day from the money in the purses.”
Daniel Kinahan is a boxing fan but he may have been attracted to the sport by the idea of laundering drug money through the sport.
Kinahan set up a gym in Marbella using his friend, boxer Matthew Macklin, as the front man and his boxing organisation is called MTK, which stands for Mack The Knife, which was Macklin’s ring nickname.
MTK is now associated with Tyson Fury and a string of other boxers, although Fury is still promoted by Londoner Frank Warren. Warren survived being shot outside a boxing venue in 1989. One of his former fighters, Terry Marsh, was acquitted of attempted murder in 1990.
But there has never been any suggestion Warren himself has any ties to organised crime.
Kinahan was based in Spain for many years and his right-hand man was Gary Hutch, nephew of notorious Dublin criminal Gerry Hutch.
But they fell out over money and in September 2015 Hutch was gunned down on the Costa del Sol.
His uncle, who thought he had negotiated a deal to keep Gary safe, was furious and began plotting his revenge.
It came in February 2016 at the Regency Hotel in Dublin.
Tallant describes in glorious detail what happened when four gangsters – one disguised as a woman, two wearing fake Garda uniforms and a fourth wearing just a flat cap – stormed the weigh-in for a European lightweight title fight between one of Kinahan’s fighters, Jamie Kavanagh (pictured in the ring, above), and Antonio João Bento.
The killers, some of whom were armed with AK-47 rifles which had apparently been borrowed from the Real IRA, shot dead David Byrne, an associate of Kinahan, and injured several others.
Daniel Kinahan was reportedly the intended target but he left the weigh-in early.
In her book Tallant, who works for the Sunday World newspaper, writes: “The dogs on the street knew that the Regency was the work of the Hutch mob and while it was planned with precision, only The Monk knew how, it had been a spectacular failure…the attempt to cut off the head of the snake had been an unmitigated disaster and The Monk was in big trouble.”
Two days later Hutch’s brother Eddie, a taxi driver, was gunned down at his home and over the next three years there was a string of tit-for-tat shootings.
Tallant says Hutch recruited gunmen with IRA links and used others with grudges against the Kinahan cartel but she says he was always outgunned by the bigger and more powerful gang.
The feud had largely subsided by the time Gerry Hutch was arrested in Spain in August this year.
He has been charged with organising the Regency Hotel attack and the murder of David Byrne and will go on trial next year.
Kinahan meanwhile, is living peacefully in Dubai, and the Garda is no nearer to bringing down his organisation.
It was reported Kinahan was refused a visa to travel to the US for Fury-Wilder III and if Fury ever fights Joshua or Usyk in London in a mouth-watering and money-generating world title unification fight Kinahan is unlikely to venture to the UK for fear of being arrested and extradited to the Republic of Ireland.
Clash Of The Clans, published by Mirror Books, is available from all good bookshops. Please buy it from a bookshop, rather than Amazon.